Welcome to the final day of B Block and for those that aren’t aware, Hiroshi Tanahashi has won A Block after him and Kazuchika Okada had a thirty-minute draw.
I know I picked Okada to win A Block, but I’m very happy to see Tanahashi advance as he’s still my favorite in the New Japan roster and how can you not be a fan of him? If you’re not, then I’m not sure if I can trust you.
Anyway, now that A Block is all done, it is now time to see who moves on to fight Tanahashi tomorrow as our only options at this point are Kenny Omega, Kota Ibushi, and Tetsuya Naito. Yesterday, NJPW posted a ruling for today that if Tama Tonga or any of the OG Bullet Club members interfere in any of the B Block matches tonight, they would be fined and suspended for three months. Let’s be honest, do you really think they care? Are they going to cooperate or keep doing what they’re doing? Who will move on to B Block? Let’s not waste any more time and…dive right in.
G1 Climax 2018 Block B Match
Toru Yano vs. Tama Tonga
Review: Looks like Tama is gonna have to do this one solo due to the ruling and I’m sure he doesn’t need it since he’s fighting Toru Yano, he even helped him at the last show with defeating Kenny Omega so Toru should be thanking him. But yes, Toru does have a win over Kenny Omega thanks to Tama despite him not being able to beat him in the tournament either and maybe Toru can rack up one final win. Since OG’s are banned from ringside, what will Tonga’s strategy be to defeat him? Is he gonna cheat and play along with Toru’s games or is he going to actually play fair? I doubt it but let’s see.
I wonder, could you really call it a match? I mean there kinda was one for a couple of minutes and it looked like Tama did have it under control for a while until Toru started getting the upper hand. It got to the point where Fale and Loa started to come out to try and come in ignoring the rule about being suspended. Tonga has choking Toru and the referee would try to break it up but gets ignored, which the referee pulls his hair Kento style. Tama didn’t like that ine bit and goes ape shit hitting the Gun Stun to get disqualified as OG’s are now kicked out of the building and Toru wins. Good job, Toru.
Recommended: It was more story driven than anything and guess they wanted to have them gone early. Still worth checking for 5 minutes.
G1 Climax 2018 Block B Match
Juice Robinson vs. Hirooki Goto
Review: These two are no strangers to each other as both men have fought for the NEVER Openweight Championship twice and Goto would always come out on top of those matches. Juice would always somehow get the lucky pinfall victory over him when it comes to tag matches to earn these opportunities, but when it comes to just fighting him one on one, he comes up short every time. However, Juice could maybe get that singles victory over Goto this time and potentially another Openweight Championship match or Goto could just knock Juice down again. Will this be the time for Juice to get the victory or does Goto stand tall once again?
Before the match starts, Juice decides to take off the wrist tape and I guess it’s to show how serious he is about the match. Both of them appesr to have an injury with Juice and his hand while Goto has his arm taped up a little thanks to Zack. Juice looked like he had the upper hand for the beginning of it and wanted to keep it that way until Goto would stop his momentum. I like wheh they fight because ir shows a good story with Goto seeing potential in him and wants him to unleash that ‘samurai spirit’ and you see that in their matches. The last few minutes of the match were very back and forth with them trying to hit the GTR or Pulp Friction. Goto eventually hits an inverted GTR and looks like he was gonna get it this time but Juice shows his fire and hits a stiff left hook before hitting the Pulp Friction as Juice finally defeats Goto! Now that Juice pinned Goto one on one for the first time, will that lead to a NEVER Openweight Championship match? Right now, I’m gonna say no due to them having a lot of contenders lined up and just have Juice mark it up as I got a win over him and that’s good enough right now.
Recommended: Great match, worth viewing.
G1 Climax 2018 Block B Match
Tomohiro Ishii vs. SANADA
Review: The two of them fought each other twice in a singles competition where SANADA defeated Ishii in 2016 during the G1 Climax and last year at the New Japan Cup where Ishii defeated SANADA. So this would technically be the rubber match between these two here to see who would come out on top. Ishii has been stocking up some pretty impressive victories lately and wouldn’t be surprised if he wants to stock up one more to end it, but SANADA has also lost a few big ones and wants to fix that by getting that one more win as well. Who needs the win more?
I’m just gonna come out and say it, these two are the MVP’s of not only B Block, but throughout the G1 Climax in general. Whether they have the best match on the show or just had a great performance, these two would always deliver to give us something memorable to watch with how they perform. For having them fight last on the final day, I thought the match was tremendous from beginning to end and gave us a fantastic story and plenty of nice sequences from their reversals and trying to do their moves like Ishii attempting the Skull End and SANADA countering it with Ishii’s Sliding Lariat and just how they flowed together was beautiful.
There was also a nice little callback to Great Muta with SANADA attempting the Diving Moonsault and missing as Ishii catches him with a Shining Wizard as the crowd goes crazy. These two went to war together, but there had to be a winner as Ishii defeats SANADA with the Vertical Suplex Drop. Despite them having a pretty decent record, both of them did a fantastic job with all of their opponents whether they won or loss and nothing to be ashamed of. Ishii showed that he’s still at the top of his game and SANADA has shown that he can be a key player in New Japan.
Recommended: Fantastic match, please watch.
G1 Climax 2018 Block B Match
Tetsuya Naito vs. Zack Sabre Jr.
Review: The only way for Naito to advance now is that he has to defeat Zack Sabre Jr. Last time they fought, it was the first round of the New Japan Cup and Zack would shock the audience when he made Naito tap out, but Naito did defeat Zack last year in the G1 Climax so it was them saying they’re even now. This is another tiebreaker that needs to be taken care of since they both got a victory over each other and all Naito has to do is win and he will advance to fight Tanahashi. Can Naito meet Tanahashi in the finals one more time or will Zack ruin it for Naito to make Kenny or Kota advance?
It appears Naito has gotten into Zack’s head pretty early with his little Tranquilo tactics since you can see Zack throwing a little temper tantrum outside with TAKA trying to calm him down until he got back in the ring. It appears to have worked because once Naito was about to do his little taunt, Zack would waste no time putting him in an Armbar and the body manipulations begin. Something about these two working together makes it feel rather unique at times and it’s with the popularity of Naito from the fans and Zack showing his personality a little bit more with him compared to the other guys he fights in New Japan and it shows here.
I’m not exactly sure which match I like better out of the three but this one was still great and maybe a little weaker than their NJ Cup match, so still not really bad. Zack has been trying everything to get Naito to tap out because he knows Naito will be out if he can defeat him and wants to do that here but Naito kept on getting to the ropes to show that he won’t quit at all. Zack would even come close with the European Clutches and he still kicks out of them and you can tell Naito wants this bad. Naito hits the Destino and Zack was sitting up, so he calls for another Destino but Zack caught him for the Zack Driver and Naito is….out…wait what?
No, it wasn’t a typo there, Zack Sabre won the match meaning Naito is now eliminated from the G1 Climax. I know I picked Ibushi to advance from my predictions in the first day, but I did want Naito to win and finally get his WK win for the belt, but it appears to be once again put on hold. What’s next for Naito? I’m not sure and I’ll get to that at a later date, but I can’t be mad and he did well at least.
Recommended: Great match and a rather heartbreaking ending. So yes
G1 Climax 2018 Block B Match
Kenny Omega vs. Kota Ibushi
Review: Six years ago, these two would fight each other in the very same arena in Nippon Budokan where they fought in DDT for the KO-D Openweight Championship where Ibushi defeated Kenny to retain the title and these two almost killed each other, and check the match out for yourself if you haven’t. Now six years later, both of these men have matured completely compared to their DDT days and now it’s time to see who’s the better man out of these two. The outcome of this match will decide how things turn out for the final because Kenny will move on if he wins this match and Ibushi has a chance to advance if he defeats Kenny here. With OG being banned from ringside, should be safe to say there will be no interference to cause a no contest and risking them both to not advance at all. Which of the two Golden Lovers comes out on top?
Aside from Kenny having a bit of a serious face, Ibushi’s face just tells it all with the story of this match and all the years they’ve known each other. They had the perfect pacing from beginning to end with them starting off with chain wrestling and doing the same move to each other whether they hit or block it. They knew when to hit the big moves or when to hype it up for a reversal and again, it was a very special match if you’ve been following the Golden Lovers and how their careers have played out, it shows their maturity and progression since they last time they fought together and it’s quite amazing to see how far they’ve come whether you’re a fan of them or not.
They did say they might kill each other the next time they fought in this arena and they weren’t kidding here since some of the moves they do to each other or when Kenny dropped him on his head when he tried to do a Reverserana. Ibushi would hit the Kamigoye and Kenny would surprisingly kick out of that one, leaving Ibushi emotionally frustrated since he wants it over. Kenny had Ibushi on the top rope and Ibushi fights it off by delivering a Double Stomp right on the back of his head to knock him out and does an amazing Tiger Bomb off the top rope only to top it off with the Kamigoye for the victory over Kenny!
After the match, Ibushi would hug his unconscious body sharing an emotion moment together. Definitely a fantastic match with a great story to top it off and in my opinion might be my favorite match from the both of them this year. Since Ibushi defeated Kenny, that means he moves on to the finals to fight Hiroshi Tanahashi tomorrow. It looks like I got both my predictions right since I said these two would be in the finals, but I’m gonna have to go with Tanahashi winning it all.
Recommended: Fantastic match, worth watching.
Overall: B Block ended on a high note with some great stories along with excellent in-ring quality from top to bottom. An unexpected victor made it to the final and it’s gonna leave a bunch of questions after tomorrow pretty much asking, what’s next for everyone that didn’t make it?
Favorite Match: Kota Ibushi vs Kenny Omega
Least Favorite Match: Tama Tonga vs Toru Yano
B Block Standings:
Kota Ibushi: 6-3 (12 Points) – Winner
Kenny Omega 6-3 (12 Points) – Eliminated
Tetsuya Naito: 6-3 (12 Points) – Eliminated
Zack Sabre Jr: 6-3 (12 Points) – Eliminated
Tomohiro Ishii: 5-4 (10 Points) – Eliminated
SANADA: 4-5 (8 Points) – Eliminated
Juice Robinson: 3-6 (6 Points) – Eliminated
Toru Yano: 3-6 (6 Points) – Eliminated
Hirooki Goto: 3-6 (6 Points) – Eliminated
Tama Tonga: 3-6 (6 Points) – Eliminated
G1 Climax 28 Ratings and Joint Review
Well we have reached the end of the road. G1 Climax 28, Grand Finals night.
Hiroshi Tanahashi won the A-ce Block and Kota Ibushi won our hearts…and…well…the B Block. Both have some history facing each other, and both are known to be more than competent wrestlers, so we’re looking at a great match.
Now it should be noted that Mathew and I will do this article jointly, similarly to how we did the Finals of the Champion Carnival.Also in an amusing turn of events, we both predicted this finals, but we’re rooting for the other’s block winner.
So if Tanahashi wins that would make me a perfect 3-0 in the tournaments we’ve covered, for the eventual winner coming from my block ( Marufuji won Champion Carnival, Masato Yoshino won King of Gate).
With that, I’m okay being wrong if Tanahashi wins. So let’s get to the show.
Togi Makabe, Michael Elgin & Tomoaki Honma vs Yuji Nagata, Ayato Yoshida & Shota Umino
Average match, glad to see Honma again, but nothing special – Mathew
Yeah, basically what Mathew said, basic match, nothing super impressive. It is nice to see Honma back for his technically third match since returning from injury. But this was just a standard Young Lion opening match.
Winner: Makabe via King Kong Knee Drop
Toa Henare vs Bad Luck Fale
This was a glorified squash match. Henare got in a good headbutt, but this just went quick.
Henare dead – Mathew
Winner: Fale via Bad Luck Fall
Taichi & Iizuka vs Hirooki Goto & YOSHI-HASHI
Taichi got introduced and they kept cutting off his music with Iizuka’s music, so that messed up his singing idol gimmick. Iizuka doesn’t come out with Taichi, and instead jumps the CHAOS members form behind.
The match was fine, if anything it proves that Taichi would’ve been a better addition to the G1 than YOSHI-HASHI, since HASHI eats the pin.
Decent match, Miho Abe is gorgeous, HASHI needs to go away, and what does this all mean for Taichi? – Mathew
Winner: Taichi via Last Ride Powerbomb
Rating: ** 1/4
Cody & Hangman Page vs Juice Robinson & David Finlay
Cody’s first match since San Francisco, so he can’t really lose, can he?
Juice took the hand wrapping off before the match started, and wasn’t shy about throwing hands. Finlay did his usual thing, where it’s never quit enough to get the job done. Page blind sided Juice with a Buckshot Lariat, before everyone started wiping each other out with signatures. Cody finishes the match, countering the Pulp Friction into a Vertebreaker.
Solid match, everyone pulled their weight, except for Finlay. Cody decided to cut in line for the US Title, rude. – Mathew
Winner: Cody via Vertebreaker
Rating: ** 1/2
NEVER 6 Man Tag Team Championships: Tanga Loa, Tama Tonga & Taiji Ishimori vs Marty Scurll & The Young Bucks
Decent match, felt more like an ROH match than New Japan. Not really sure how I feel about Taiji’s first belt being this one, but the blatant disregard for the belts at the end was fantastic. – Mathew
This wasn’t supposed to be a title match, but Tama talked some smack and Matt Jackson asked the President to make it official. So even though the Tongans are one wrong move away being suspended, now they get a title shot.
When we get down to the match, it was paced out like most ROH Trios matches, and never really got out of that gear. We saw a few more Super Kicks than usual, but a bunch each man’s signature moves. Double Sharpshooter into Chicken Wing spot popped the crowd pretty hard.
Tama makes the blind tag, so when the Bucks go for the Meltzer Driver on Taiji, the giant cluster happens. Tama slinks off into the corner to draw less attention, but eventually lands the Gun Stun for the win.
Winner: Tama via Gun Stun
Minoru Suzuki, El Desperado, Yoshinobu Kanemaru & Zack Sabre Jr vs Tetsuya Naito, EVIL, SANADA & Bushi
Well the drama between these clubs goes back a few months when Suzuki and Naito had their match for the Intercontinental belt. This is just being furthered along by Zack Sabre ruining Naito’s chances to win the G1 Climax. So this should be entertaining.
Before the bell rings, Suzuki-Gun jumps Los Ingobernables de Japon and they spill to the outside. Naito and Suzuki have a chair based stand off and from there on we get the usual multi-man match. Each person comes in, does their thing, but with the tempers flaring.
The match ends with SANADA dodging Kanemaru’s Whiskey Mist and slapping on the Skull End while the rest of the members are on the outside going crazy.
Bit of a cluster, sloppy at points but it told a story and did what it needed to. Young Lion Lives Matter – Mathew
Winner: SANADA via Skull End
Rating: *** 1/4
Jay White, Tomohiro Ishii & Toru Yano vs Kenny Omega, Chase Owens & Yujiro Takahashi
Jay hasn’t played well with SHO and YOH, but how will he fair with Ishii and Yano? On the flip side, Omega could use a little momentum after 3 straight singles losses, included a singles loss to Ishii.
Entertaining, Pieter’s dance was the best part, but did a good job at what it was supposed to do. – Mathew
Like Mathew said, at one point in the match all six men are in and the Bullet Club members do the Row Boat spot, but Yujiro asks Pieter to come in an help. So she decides to get in the middle of all six men and urge them along by spinning and dancing all sexy. Yujiro gets infatuated first which allows Ishii to roll of the ring, and the rest of the men just stop and stare at Pieter. Kenny decides to be the party pooper and slap sense into his teammates and escort Pieter out of the ring.
Aside from that, we had a few good spots with Omega/Owens doing a Superkick/Pump Kick combo on Ishii, and good team work on both ends. Eventually Owens and Ishii are alone in the ring, Owens goes for the Package Piledriver, fails and gets a Vertical Drop Brainbuster for his troubles.
Winner: Ishii via Vertical Drop Brainbuster
Rating: *** 1/2
Kushida, Rey Mysterio & Pro Wrestler Sengokuenbu vs Kazuchika Okada, SHO & YOH
We have the debut of an unknown samurai wrestler from the Sengoku (Warring States) period of Japan. Time traveler, or just a big fan, he makes his appearance to help out Rey Mysterio and Kushida against the CHAOS members.
Best tag match on the show, everyone delivered, very entertaining. Sengokuenbu was the highlight, now we just need to figure out who he could be. Give us Mysterio vs Liger already, dammit! – Mathew
The match saw a lot of all three guys getting in good offense, a tease for a Double 619, that Okada stopped with his picture perfect Dropkick. But stereo Tope con Hilos at the end, set up Mysterio to get YOH into position for the 619 and West Coast Pop, to pick up the pinfall.
Nothing crazy happened during or after, just a good ole fashioned fun match with no storyline implications, just entertainment.
Winner: Mysterio via 619
Rating: *** 3/4
G1 Climax 28 Finals: Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Kota Ibushi
So these two have put on some great matches in the past. Does Ibushi avenge his loss at Power Struggle 2017? Does the Ace have one more run left in him? Enough hyperbole, time to find out.
Mathew’s sentiment is right on the level with mine. But we also saw some fantastic spots in this match. Ibushi countered a Sliding Dropkick from Tanahashi on the apron, and Double Footstomped perfectly on his chest, a quickly snapped off Avalanche Frankensteiner as well as his new Double Knees Moonsault. Tanahashi was in usual form also, with a couple Short Arm Slingblades mixed in with two Twist and Shout Neckbreakers.
Throughout the match, the story and struggle was painted plainly on both men’s faces. Ibushi kept trying to hold back his emotions, until the spirit of Shinsuke Nakamura overcame him. A few antagonistic kicks to the head, mixed with two or three Bomaye Knees from different angles. Hell Ibushi even hit his Outside-In Deadlift German Suplex on Tanahashi, but only for 2 counts.
Tanahashi had a hauntingly similar sequence to the Power Struggle match, but instead of 2 High Fly Flows, this time it took 3 for Tanahashi to finish the job. A momentous occasion of course, but it should be noted that Kota never hit the KamiGoye. For those who don’t know, KameGoye means “Beyond God”, and he named it such because of Tanahashi. It was the move he was going to use to finally surpass God, and God, to Kota Ibushi, is Tanahashi.
Not quite there yet for Kota, but words can’t adequately describe how amazing this match was.
Winner: Tanahashi via High Fly Flow
— GIF Skull (@GIFSkull) August 12, 2018
Tanahashi wins his third G1 Climax, and the winner comes from my block for the third time this year! Yes I know I picked Ibushi, but being wrong there, still kinda paid off. The match was tremendous, the undercard built like a normal New Japan show. So now we get to see when and where Jay White will challenge Tanahashi for the contract, and if Kazuchika Okada might make a challenge.
Even though all previous contract winners have lost at Wrestle Kingdom, we might finally see something change. Maybe Tanahashi wins, maybe he loses it before the big show. Guess we’ll just have to sit back and find out.
Andrew’s G1 Climax 28 A Block Ratings & Review: Day 17
We’ve made it to the G1 Climax A Block Finals boys and girls!
It’s been a three horse race for a few days, but someone has to win today. Let’s go over the iterations before the show starts:
- With a win and Tanahashi loss, Jay White wins the block.
- With a win and Jay White loss, Kazuchika Okada wins the block.
- With a win or draw, Hiroshi Tanahashi wins the block.
Now that we’ve gone over that, let’s see how this finishes up.
Michael Elgin vs Togi Makabe
This isn’t the match that people are tuning in today to watch, but it should be a hell of a brawl. Even though neither guy has had an impressive tournament, this is a first time G1 matchup. The last couple years, Elgin and Makabe have been in opposite blocks.
We got what we expected in this match. Both men are tough guys and power wrestlers, so we saw numerous strike exchanges and power moves. Makabe went for his Spider German Suplex, it got stopped. Then he went for the rebound Spider Belly to Belly, but Elgin blocked that and lit up Makabe in the tree of woe. A Splash Mountain Powerbomb from the corner, only gets Elgin a 2 count.
However, we finally get something different. Usually when Makabe doesn’t hit the Spider German Suplex, he loses the match. But manages to counter a Discus Lariat into a Death Valley Driver, which set up for the King Kong Knee Drop.
So missed Spider German or not, Makabe ends on a high note, with 6 points.
Winner: Makabe via King Kong Knee Drop
Rating: *** 1/2
YOSHI-HASHI vs Hangman Page
This is the first time these two have faced off in singles action. Page being the young guy and HASHI being the disappointment, this isn’t exactly a hot match. Does Hangman end on a 3 match win streak, or does HASHI get a slightly meaningful win?
Naps and cookies were had during this match. Page dominated most of this match, hitting the Shooting Star Shoulder Tackle and Buckshot Lariat without much struggle. It isn’t until Page starts taunting YOSHI that the tone shifts a little.
HASHI pulls off his Head Hunter (Block Buster), a Superkick and then we have a few standing switches to get out of finishing moves. Page goes for Rite of Passage about 3 times in a row, before HASHI counters with a Canadian Destroyer.
Thanks to the Destroyer, it gives HASHI the opening to hit Karma, for the pinfall. So we have another match that ends with both men at 6 points.
Winner: YOSHI-HASHI via Karma
Rating: ** 3/4
Minoru Suzuki vs Bad Luck Fale
Well after the last few years, it’s odd to think that a Suzuki-Gun match would have interference that wasn’t started by Suzuki-Gun. But hey, let’s assume we get a 10 minute match, and then Tama Tonga shows up.
Well damn, my opening statement came true. Roughly 10 minutes of a decent, but nothing special match and we get Tama Tonga showing up hitting a Gun Stun on Suzuki in front of the referee.
Bad Luck Fale gets DQ’d and has an odd distinction of not winning the block, but also going through the entire tournament without being pinned or submitted. Go figure, right?
Winner: Suzuki via DQ
Rating: ** 1/4
EVIL vs Jay White
EVIL got the top 3 guys for his last 3 matches. Can EVIL finally get a statement victory against one of the leaders, or continue to come up short?
A lot of outside barricade usage, but no high intensity moments. EVIL hits Darkness Falls, Jay even pulls out his old finishing move the Kiwi Crusher, all for near falls.
Jay brings in two chairs, as per usual. Red Shoes takes one away, gets bumped, but EVIL manages to dodge a chairshot, countering easily with Everything is Evil.
So Jay’s under handed tactics finally stop working, and he is now eliminated from winning. So Okada versus Tanahashi is a winner takes all match now.
Winner: EVIL via Everything is Evil
Rating: *** 3/4
Kazuchika Okada vs Hiroshi Tanahashi
This is a historic rivalry. A couple draws, nearly even in their overall records against each other, we just know it’ll be good. The weight increases with White’s loss, but lets just see what happens.
The match starts with a flurry of missed shots. Okada misses a Shotgun Dropkick and Standing Dropkick, Tanahashi misses the Basement Dropkick, as each try Sentons and Lariats, all avoided for a quick stand off and applause.
From that point forward, this was another classic Okada and Tanahashi match. Both men took a move from each other, Okada hitting a Dragon Screw Leg Whip and Tanahashi landing a Tombstone Piledriver. Tanahashi even surprised everyone by using a Styles Clash, for a near fall.
Words can’t really describe the layers and emotion in this match. It was deliberately paced early on, but building to the last 5 minute rush of signature moves, near falls and hearing the crowd stomping their feet so loudly, this was special.
Tanahashi with a nice call back to the Wrestle Kingdom match when Okada kept wrist control, by keeping neck control and hitting 3 Twist and Shout neckbreakers. Fending off the Rainmaker just long enough to hit one High Fly Flow for a 2 count, but then time was called as Tanahashi went to the top for another.
Winner: Time Limit Draw
A Block Standings:
Hiroshi Tanahashi: 7-1-1 (15 Points) – Winner
Kazuchika Okada: 6-2-1 ( 13 Points) – Eliminated
Jay White: 6-3 (12 Points) – Eliminated
Minoru Suzuki: 5-4 (10 Points) – Eliminated
EVIL: 5-4 (10 Points) – Eliminated
Hangman Page: 3-6 (6 Points) – Eliminated
Bad Luck Fale: 3-6 (6 Points) – Eliminated
Michael Elgin: 3-6 (6 Points) – Eliminated
Togi Makabe: 3-6 (6 Points) – Eliminated
YOSHI-HASHI: 3-6 (6 Points) – Eliminated
Well the A Block, is the Ace Block, and that was one hell of a way to finish this block. I did pick Tanahashi to win the block, so that makes me happy. Now if Ibushi can capture the B Block, that would be great.
Even for those who were saying the A Block was the least impressive, you have to enjoy the way stories were paid off, and the epic clash between Tanahashi and Okada. Damn impressive.